Stuck at Prom

Stuck At Prom

How did you hear about this contest and what inspired you to participate?

I learned about this contest last year when a couple at our Junior Prom dressed in duct tape garb, then I also read an article in our local paper about unique scholarship opportunities.

What patterns, sketches were used in its construction?

For the construction of the dress, I used our old Butterick men's and women's kimono pattern we used for Magatsu and Hideki. I made my own "fabric" by stretching and sticking tape to cheap cloth, then cutting out the pattern as if it were normal cloth. I killed many a pair of scissors during these steps, as the adhesive gunked up the blades. Next, I followed assembly instructions, but instead of stitching the layers together, I stapled the seams and then pressed them open with a strip of tape so the outside seam looked crisp and I didn't get stabbed. The patterns on the sleeves and rear of the kimono are a combination of colored paper, direct paint, and direct tape added to the base. It really looks good on camera!

The initial idea for this costume was conceived last summer during my job on the back of paystubs. Duct tape comes in 13 ish colors, but we settled for subtle red, black, silver, and white and attached a pattern to it. I did a lot of research online to make the costumes accurate. I dressed as a maiko, or geisha in training. The difference between them and geisha are the okobo, or giant clog shoes, the dangling obi, and gigantic sleeves. Also, maiko wear the whiteface, while geisha wear more natural makeup. The most formal of kimono worn by maiko is black, so I chose that color. For my date, we chose the highly formal haori coat and hakama. The crests have been substituted with duct tape labels.

How many hours do you think it took to prepare and construct your outfit?

We worked on and off for about 40 hours. It was quite spread out, so it didn't seem like a long time!

Tell us all about the big day.

After hours of squatting over the floor and painting, taping, and stapling my kimono, prom night had come! I knew the routine, having attended in the past, so I was not too nervous about getting in, or tripping during the grand march, or spilling punch down my front. The only discrepancy was looking for a last minute date. My friends all had dates, so I did not want to be the third wheel to anyone. At long last, after fruitlessly begging Mike to just go with me, I said "screw this, I'm goin' alone!" And that I did. At this point, I had black hair, so I sculpted it all geisha-style and stuck a fake bun on the back. I did light makeup, but not whiteface, so as not to terrify anyone who actually took prom seriously. After being disappointed with the results of normal makeup, I did my eyelining, lips and brows with acrylic paint. Highly unsafe. Would not recommend.

After being wrapped, taped, and stuffed into my 6 layers of fun, my parents devised a way of loading me into the car. They took out the back seats of our van and loaded me straight in to my knees as you would a loaf of bread in a traditional oven. I'm glad they observed the speed limit during the trip, because I certainly would not want to be the illegal immigrant crouched in the belly of the vehicle when they got pulled over. Ahem.

Upon arriving, the stares came in great bounty. Lucky for me the teacher who was to sneak me in was right at the door, so in I went without fuss. Let me tell you the benefits of gigantic sleeves- you don't need to put anything in the coat check. I had touchup paint, my invitation, someone's camcorder, rolls of tape, and other big things in those puppies. I glided around for a while until my fellow otaku showed up, including my heroes Dave and Metta, who cosplayed to prom together as Meir and Charlotte from Vampire Hunter D. They loved it, which was great because no one really quite understood why I was in a duct tape kimono. I had a tin full of explanatory cards in my sleeve that I distributed in great number.

How much money did you spend altogether?

This is my most expensive prom I've attended. I'm quite the cheapskate, but duct tape is nearly 3 bucks a roll. We probably used 40 rolls total to make both outfits. This is because of the obi, which is long and double layered, and the sleeves, which are lined. Price? About $150.00.

My favorite part of the costume are the duct tape geta. I carved these puppies from wood, sewed my own straps in velvet and cording, then attached used rolls for teeth. Huzzah.

What sort of reaction did family and classmates have?

As the Grand March rolled around, parents began to gather. To my shock, lots of people had no idea that my kimono was made of duct tape. They thought it was silk, and very lovely too! The parents in the stands were very impressed with my workmanship, and many others were amazed at its appearance in general. Others were blown away by the fact that I was determined to do the grand march alone, and as I glided out into the spotlight and gracefully bowed, I got a round of wholehearted cheers. I think people are aware that I'm very different and "artsy", so respected and supported my odd choice of prom attire. It was great.

Upon returning home, I was ready to die. I was drenched in sweat and very weak from having a heavy obi hanging from the center of my back. Also, I had been unable to sit or breathe normally the whole prom experience, since I had a giant obi crushing my ribcage. But I felt that the experience was worth it!! (Yaaaaay)

I think it is very cool that you even attempted this type of prom dress. It came out really awesome and I hope everyone votes for you - especially that would-be prom date of yours.

View her Cosplay Lab profile.